Prep Work 101

March 31, 2011

It really IS all about size...Spray sizing that is.
Magic Sizing is one of the products I can't quilt without.  I spray size EVERYTHING.  Every piece of fabric that walks through my door, including charm squares.  Sizing has made all the difference in the accuracy of my piecing.  I used to find that when piecing my blocks, they were always a bit smaller than they should have been, even though I checked my 1/4" before I started.  Very frustrating.  A few years ago I was fortunate to take a class with Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings and she preached the wonders of Magic Sizing.  She said it would without a doubt improve your piecing.  And she told us where to buy it and how incredibly cheap it was.
Sure enough, $ 0.97 cents!!!  Wow.  Now like Lisa, I nearly buy it by the case.  I always have at least 6 cans of it on hand!!
Before I start any project, I do a little prep work with Magic Sizing.  Every Le Petite project uses at least 2 charm squares.  It may sound like a lot of unnecessary, tedious work, but it's worth it because my piecing is always spot on!  AND trust me, I don't have any spare time, so if I do it, it must be worth it. 
Now that I have an ironing station, I usually set myself up with a movie or show playing on my iPad and sit on my saddle stool and size all my charms up.  I always play a movie or show I've seen a million times because mostly I'm listening to it.  Time just flies and before I know it I've sized 2 packages of charm squares.  I will warn you that your charm squares will shrink up a bit.  Usually at least an 1/8".  Most patterns allow for this, I believe, but if you need the full 5" then you don't want to size your fabric.

The Le Petite project for this month is "Endless Summer" by Heartspun Quilts.  I was pleasantly surprised to read in the general directions she recommended sizing the fabric before cutting to improve accuracy.  That was an awesome tip to include.  I know Carrie Nelson also preps her fabric including charm squares as well.  Carrie posted about it here.  She uses a different product that I have not yet tried, but plan to soon.

I plan on making my Le Petite project tonight.  Yes, tonight.

22 comments:

  1. I tried starch once and didn't like the feel. I just use my fabrics and watch them shrink, lol. With my bad piecing it doesn't make much difference;)

    Debbie

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  2. I don't 'size' every piece of fabric but do use it while sewing as it makes life so much easier. :-)

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  3. Hmmm... I used spray sizing for a wonky 9-patch quilt but hadn't thought about using it for other project... will give it a try!

    Thanks for the tip!

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  4. Very interesting. I wash all my fabric because I do some projects with a fusible. I think I will give a try to the sizing for pre-cuts though I do not use many.

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  5. I just picked up some of that brand. Nice to hear a good review as I haven't had a chance to try it out yet.

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  6. I used to use the Magic Sizing and then switched to starch. I think I'll try the MS again though! I don't think I've used it for the charm squares though - that's a great idea. Thanks for the tip!

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  7. I use this too, Linda, and I don't quilt without sizing everything either. Can't live without it and I buy by the bundle as well:)

    Good information!

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  8. I'll be heading to Wally World for this brand of sizing...it's much cheaper than the last one I bought!

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  9. I'm a little confused. If I'm doing a big quilt that uses yards or meters worth of fabric. Do I spray it all first and then do my cutting or do I do it after I've cut my strips etc. This is all new to me and I've been quilting for 20 years.

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  10. Hi Tarasj,

    I sure hope you read this because you are no-reply blogger, so I cannot email you. Yes, size all your fabric BEFORE cutting it, not after you cut strips. That would drive you crazy. I speak from experience. I once sized a couple of Jelly Rolls. :-) Email me if you have any other questions.

    Take care,
    Linda

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  11. Yeah, I thought you were a little anal about this (haha! just pulling your leg!), but I'm going to have to give this a try. My piecing has gotten more and more accurate over time, but it needs to get even better. And when I was at The Quilted Moose, I bought some wovens. I was lamenting on how they don't behave well for me, and they said, "Size the before you cut and sew with them. It will make all the difference in the world." So, since I've heard this twice in two days, I guess I'm gonna have to woman up and start sizing! Size matters, huh?

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  12. You know, I've never done this with charm squares, and it makes so much sense, Linda! Great post!
    Cheers!

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  13. What is the difference between starch and sizing. I just learned that starch was the thing to use to help make my piecing better. Now I have to try this sizing. Where do you get it, please?

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  14. I will have to try Magic Sizing. I have always used a spray starch combo that is used at my local quilt shop. Thanks for the tip.
    Picking up some at Wallyworld tomorrow!
    Hugs,
    Donna

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  15. My Rowenta iron booklet advises spraying starch/sizing only on the wrong side of the fabric, and then ironing on the right side, so that the soleplate will not get gummy. What do you do?

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  16. Hi Sarah,

    I hope you read this too because you are also a no-reply blogger. I DO spray my fabric on the wrong side, I do NOT iron on the right side. I iron on the wrong side as well. I use the Rowenta Focus iron and do not have a problem with the soleplate gumming up. Very rarely, do I even have residue. I spray my fabric quite liberally and wait a few moments for the sizing to penetrate the fabric. That way the fabric soaks up the excess. I'm sure you could iron from the right side if that was a concern, but your fabric would stick a bit to whatever you were ironing it on. Please email me if you have any other questions.

    Take care,
    Linda

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  17. What an informative post! I have used starch, but not sizing. I also use Best Press sometimes but never before I cut. I'll have to try it :-)

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  18. Linda got me to use sizing too, and it makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the world. You can also layer strips together and spray size them and iron them together for use with Thangles or if your cutting triagles using a ruler. They stick together and won't shift around. Starch is corn based and if you spray this type of starch then store the left over fabric, I've heard it can attract bugs. Not sure about Best Press, but I switched to Magic Size when I saw how great Linda's pieceing had become using this product. I've even sprayed it to the back on unmanageable seams to get them to "play" nicely with each other. It is a miracle product.

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  19. I will put that on my shopping list. Thank you!

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  20. I'm sold - I'll get some tomorrow! One question - does it gum up your iron at all?

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  21. I started doing that when I quit using watr in my iron. After my iron disaster everyone said to use a dry iron. Being a steamer forever I thought this would be a great solution. I LOVE it. I love that the fabric stiffens up a bit and is a dream to cut.

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  22. I love this product too, and have used it for years. Since I pre-wash all my fabric, it has become a necessity. To assure accurate piecing for myself (the old eyes are not what they used to be), I do mark a 1/4 inch stitching line with a thin pencil on everything! Yes, it really adds to be time.

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